The Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state's tourism agency, announced Wednesday the selection of AEG Facilities to manage the Hawaii Convention Center.
AEG Facilities, one of the world's leading venue management organizations, will be responsible for the management and operation of the Convention Center, as well as working collaboratively with the HTA's "Meet Hawaii" team in marketing the convention center and the Hawaiian Islands as a premier business destination.
AEG Facilities has more than 20 years of experience in the management of convention centers, as well as arenas, stadiums and other facilities. The company offers a network of elite worldwide convention centers, all of which have a similar look and feel to Hawaii's convention center. With a presence in more than 100 venues on five continents, the Los Angeles-based organization will be able to immediately position the HCC in some of the HTA's key Meetings, Conventions and Incentive markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.
"This announcement represents the rebirth of the convention center for a new era in Hawaii," said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. "Our three priorities are to focus on further strengthening our "Meet Hawaii" sales and marketing strategies, realigning HCC's operations and management to elevate the facility's global presence, and enhancing and expanding the function, use and service beyond a traditional convention center."
While the total tax revenue of the Hawaii Convention Center has covered the cost of operations over the years, the HTA believes there is opportunity to perform at a more optimal level. AEG Facilities will be responsible for boosting and optimizing usage of the facility. Their global presence and influence will be a tremendous asset in increasing bookings and drawing international visitors for Hawaii's growing MCI market, which is in line with the HTA's strategic plan for diversification and sustainability of Hawaii's tourism economy.
"We are honored to have been selected by the Hawaii Tourism Authority to manage the Hawaii Convention Center," said Bob Newman, president, AEG Facilities. "We are truly excited to partner with the HTA and all of the hospitality stakeholders to build on the foundation in place and attract new and diverse events to the facility. We also believe that the unique cultural attributes of the region will truly be another asset that will set the Hawaii Convention Center above all others."
AEG Facilities' is uniquely qualified to be able to deliver its partners and clients resources that are proven to increase event activity, revenue generation and proven cost containment programs through proprietary programs such as AEG Encore, AEG 1Force, AEG 1Earth, AEG Energy Services, AEG S.A.F.E., AEG 1Community and company divisions such as AEG Live and AEG Global Partnerships.
The HTA and its board of directors will continue efforts to study enhanced uses for the convention center, including the development of a center for Hawaiian music and dance that will strive to honor and perpetuate Hawaii's unique host culture, while creating an attraction to draw visitors and residents to the facility.
"The Hawaii Convention Center is an essential resource for the state of Hawaii and it is important that we work towards ensuring its continued success. AEG Facilities has the ability to take the convention center to the next level and compete on a global scale," said Ron Williams, HTA board chair.
The HTA's current contractor, SMG Hawaii, will manage the Hawaii Convention Center through December 2013 with AEG's contract commencing Jan. 1, 2014. SMG Hawaii has managed the HCC since its opening in 1998.
"We want to extend a sincere mahalo to SMG for what they've done for Hawaii. They are a part of our history that we will always treasure and honor. When the Hawaii Convention Center first opened, they faced many challenges in establishing Hawaii's image as a serious MCI destination. During their 15 years, they were able to secure numerous conventions, drawing thousands of attendees from across the globe. They also played an essential role in the success of the 2011 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week held in the Hawaiian Islands," added McCartney.
SMG Hawaii currently employs approximately 70 employees. The HTA is working closely with AEG in their efforts to retain a majority of the Hawaii Convention Center staff, as well as ensure a smooth transition when their new contract takes effect.